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Good Beer Hunting

Nov 23, 2019

When you’re a brewery that’s built on a very specific intent—the way you look, the beers you make, the kind of hospitality you provide—there’s a significant amount of behind-the-scenes work that’s needed to bring those elements to life. And when you’re regarded as one of the best in your domain, that creates an interesting tension: what does improvement mean, when you’re already, in some ways, at the top?

In this episode, we’re posing this philosophical question (and others) to Dustin Sepkowski, operations manager at Vancouver’s 33 Acres Brewing Company, which has won a host of British Columbia beer awards—including the nod for 2018 Brewery of the Year, as named by the BC Craft Brewers Guild.

Among its many accolades, the brewery is a two-time silver medalist at the World Beer Cup, finishing second overall in 2016 and 2018 for 33 Acres of Euphoria, its Belgian-Style Tripel. Dustin and I talk about this achievement, and how it’s impacted the brand, the brewery, and the other beers they make. When you’re brewing—objectively speaking, in terms of awards judging—the second-best Tripel in the world, what’s to fix? Apparently, quite a bit. And the reverberations are also felt by other beers in the 33 Acres portfolio. If you’ve ever wondered what breweries do with notes from these competitions, this conversation provides some insight into the resulting work and tweaks that happen behind the scenes—regardless of how high you finish.

We’ll also talk a bit about functioning within the British Columbia beer scene, and the story behind 33 Acres’ distinctive positioning—from its open white spaces to its unique flavor experiences, and even its self-published zine. All are designed to give visitors a better idea of the people behind the company, and what they want to offer those who drink their beer.

In a place, and within a scene, that’s sometime perceived as being behind the times, this is just one example of a business working to change that perception.

This is Dustin Sepkowski of 33 Acres. Listen in.